I've ridden Cloudcroft and can tell you it's a really great place for single & double track off-road riding. The ridge trail is challenging and would not venture in too far unless you are a confident rider. The forest ranger station has maps and the trails are well marked throughout the riding areas. The park ranger very much welcomed two wheeled adventurers, trails are cut intentionally not to allow 4 wheeled vehicles. We found some unbelievable places to ride with no one else around. Most trails are beginner friendly and if it gets too challenging just turn around. We found some rocky areas and should adjust your tire pressure accordingly, but most areas are perfect dirt. The town has some adequate bars and restaurants. We rented a VRBO house about 6-8 miles outside of town and it was great. Highly recommend and I will going back soon.I'm looking for a little advice from folks that have been to one or both of these places. My Wife and I will be in the Raton, NM area here in a few weeks and after we are finished up there, we plan on taking the dirt bikes somewhere a little cooler than what we have here in TX. What I'm wondering is which areas are more beginner friendly as she isn't the most experienced rider out there. Don't get me wrong, she isn't a total beginner as we have put in quite a few rides in our past, but she also isn't one to wheelie over downed trees and/or one to go bashing through boulder fields.
We are riding non-plated bikes, I'm on a KTM300xcw and she is riding a KLX140rf.
Here is where we are looking at so far:
Lake George CO
or maybe the area NW of Rye CO
What are y'alls thoughts?
Lot of driving for 2 days of riding. There is a lot out there to ride.Well, it's official. Heading that way next Thursday and returning Sunday. Will be camping at a yet to be determined campsite.
Thank you everyone for all the input. Got me to move off center and get my butt in gear.
Who's camped in Cloudcroft?
Is the south side of town better for access to trails?
Which campsites have showers?
Can you primitive camp anywhere in the National Forest?
Perfect. Thank you.We usually primitive camp off of Benson Ridge (Rd233) - south of town off the sunspot highway.
It's central and you can head over to the rim trail via Karr canyon road in one direction and Lucas Canyon, Willie White, etc. in the other.
I wound out Monarch in the very easy category. it has some exposure, but the trail it’s self is smooth and flowy. A lot of the trails around it are more technical and difficult.I would NOT suggest Monarch Crest, most of Rainbow, and most of Taylor Park for a beginner.
That does look nice. They are ok with a group of guys on D/S bikes?I like staying here. Watching herds of elk come down into the valley every evening is a nice way to cap off a great day.
Aspendale Mountain Retreat is nestled in the beautiful sacramento mountains at 9,000 ft. Our 123 acre camp has the capacity for single and family retreats as well as groups up to 250 people. Our valley is full of beauty for a peaceful and quiet retreat as well as activities for all including, a highwww.aspendale.org
Thanks for the video! When you get to the end of the Monarch trail what then?I wound out Monarch in the very easy category. it has some exposure, but the trail it’s self is smooth and flowy. A lot of the trails around it are more technical and difficult.
Rainbow is another one I wound put in the easier side of the page. There are some rocky sections, but if we’re looking for challenging trails , rainbow os never in that discussion. I’d call it mostly flowy.
If you’re in the sargents area (other side of monarch pass from Salida), horseshoe is one of the more difficult trails out there. Some guys call it “the real 5 miles of hells” 😂
Here’s my recent ride on monarch Crest.
It is. Jason has been giving me some tips on trails and camping in the area. This guy knows his stuff around this area for sure. Monarch Crest looks to be fantastic, and one day I will 100% ride it, but probably not this trip. There just isn't enough beginner stuff in that area to make a trip of it. Once Rachel gets a little more seat time, maybe.And I'm guessing this is Monarch Pass area? Never had a bike up there but have been in this area.
Sorry to keep bothering you but what I am asking is where do you end up? Do you have to back track to Monarch on the same trail or do you make a big loop that includes some other locations?The next trail we did was called Agate creek. The video stops at the start of that one.
Agate is definitely not beginner friendly. Several cool water crossings though.
Oh sorry I misunderstood.Sorry to keep bothering you but what I am asking is where do you end up? Do you have to back track to Monarch on the same trail or do you make a big loop that includes some other locations?
I definitely don’t know everything and I’m still learning, but I know enough to help outIt is. Jason has been giving me some tips on trails and camping in the area. This guy knows his stuff around this area for sure. Monarch Crest looks to be fantastic, and one day I will 100% ride it, but probably not this trip. There just isn't enough beginner stuff in that area to make a trip of it. Once Rachel gets a little more seat time, maybe.
As it stands right now, we have two VERY good options for forest camping and riding. One in Cloudcroft thanks to the info from John, and then an area up in Colorado thanks to Jason. I'm actually leaning back towards Colorado at the moment, but I think it will all come down to what the weather is doing in a week. The good news is that we can really wait until the last minute to decide as it isn't like we have reservations anywhere.
Oh sorry I misunderstood.
You can do it a lot of different ways.
We turned and went down Agate creek, hit the highway for like 3 miles to Tomichi creek (even though none of us are plated 😂).
Then went up Tank 7 (has a long difficult rocky section, uo summit trail and back across monarch crest to the truck. 60 or 65ish miles IIRC.
But from Monarch crest you can turn on greens creek and do those out and back, or keep going all the way to marshal pass.
So you can do a big mileage loop, are an moderate mileage out n back.